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Busou Shoujo Machiavellism – 12 (END)

「少女達の「マキャヴェリズム」」 (Shoujo-tachi no makyaverizumu)
“The Girls’ Machiavellism”

And with that it is over. It was a fairly conventional finale for Busou Shoujo, we got the conclusion to the fight, some hints towards future arc(s), and a little more comedic girl teasing to round things out. Pretty damn funny Amou managed to steal the kiss too, you’d think Rin would have snatched that, but I’m guessing she—like Mary—is destined romantic purgatory. How else could we legitimately keep the cute smiles coming?

Although Amou never really became the ultimate boss, she did live up to the danger presented. Her yandere tendencies were on point, as her possessive rage was clearly building up long before Satori’s picture giving, and she dived head first—literally—into some serious sadomasochism. Yanderes might forever be associated with clinical insanity, but Amou proves the archetype can retain a degree of levelheadedness. After all, she managed to leave Nomura speechless for once with that claim of ownership. Still think Tsukuyo is the better girl, but then I’m all in on those eyes and her hilarious (self)-promotion to teacher of the bad boy. Plus with Nomura still enrolled—serious giggle at the headmistress out-deadpanning Satori—we’ll only be seeing more of the little loli. You can be sure she’ll want her own piece of that Nomura booty, no matter the stubborn efforts of the quite cute harem duo. Nomura may have won over the school (mostly) and acquired a plethora of new friends, but the real struggle of filtering the romantic prospects has just begun. There’s never any rest for the weary.

Final Impressions

Busou Shoujo is a funny one to look back on. Most shows often depend on audience perception for enjoyment, but Busou Shoujo does to a significant degree. Yes it’s a clear parody, but not many others feature an ultra-feminist school run by a bunch of sword-wielding girls. It’s a recipe for disaster in our politically charged environment, but Busou Shoujo revels in it. I could have easily spent my blogging time delving into the show’s foundation—the treatment of feminism, the usage of actual martial arts, how it all relates to modern Japan—for example, but that would have sucked all the fun out of it. This show is naturally crazy, of course you will lose your mind if you take it seriously, that’s the point; Busou Shoujo is meant to get you laughing and keep you laughing, and it certainly succeeded at that.

What primarily made Busou Shoujo’s ridiculous premise work was a combination of Nomura and his stamp collecting goal. We are all used to the meek, oblivious, and outright pathetic harem leads there solely as wish fulfillment stand ins, but Nomura breaks the concept by going full Casanova. He flirts, he teases, he effortlessly runs circles around girls in a way that defines “amused mastery”. This takes away the suspension of disbelief often needed when the girl falls for the protagonist, because it’s expected in Nomura’s case—he’s just that good. Couple that with the varied manner of Nomura’s victories—he never single handily won them all—and the early limitation of the “harem” to Rin and Mary, and it’s hard finding fault here. Part of the reason is the show’s restriction of plot to stamp collecting. We know Nomura will challenge all the Swords and win, so the difficulty is making each fight interesting. This forced creativity out of Busou Shoujo, which when coupled with Nomura’s uncommon personality created a variety of scenarios unique from one another. The key for any comedy is variance, and by consistently ensuring a different fight every time, Busou Shoujo largely avoided the potential pitfalls.

Where Busou Shoujo stumbled slightly, however, was in development. Besides Amou and Rin, the Swords either received little fleshing out or incredibly rushed backstories. While pacing problems are mostly to blame and entirely expected—it’s an adaptation after all—it’s still annoying to know how better some of the reveals could have been with more time. Naturally I’m referring to Satori and her sister, but even the others would have been well-served with some additional backstory (looking at you Mary). This is not that big an issue considering how well Busou Shoujo handled the more contentious components, but it’s always nice when a harem show tries fleshing out the girls as much as the protagonist(s). It’s good knowing the romantic interests have complex personalities behind the looks.

While I may not have known entirely what I was getting myself into covering Busou Shoujo, in hindsight I can say I’m quite glad to have picked this one up. Once past the strangeness of its premise the show never failed keeping me amused, and always offered something new to discuss every week—and believe me, I like easy to discuss shows. Busou Shoujo certainly isn’t the best thing to ever grace anime and will leave more than a few confused in its wake, but as base entertainment the show did its job in spades. For comedy, it’s hard finding better praise.

June 21, 2017 at 11:38 pm
23 comments »
  • June 22, 2017 at 12:08 amBrushes

    The final battle was a hotblooded fist fight under the rain.

    No bullshit martial arts.
    No unnecessary wanking about.
    No subtlety whatsoever.

    Passionate fisting. Final destination.
    You’d have to have a heart as cold as Amou’s to not find that fucking awesome.

    PS.
    Nomura’s smile at the end completely made the finale. It’s not often that I’m actually really god damn glad for the MC in a harem show. What a god damn feel good conclusion, I love it.
    I’ll remember this show fondly.

    • June 23, 2017 at 12:19 amPancakes

      This show proves beyond a doubt that you can take the most ridiculous of concepts and make it work spectacularly. So long as you fully embrace the crazy, anything is possible.

      Probably one of the few harem-esque shows which deserves a sequel just for its execution IMO.

  • June 22, 2017 at 12:42 ampaulrenzo

    The “harem” shows this season seem to be entertaining in general

    • June 23, 2017 at 12:24 amPancakes

      Might be due to their nature. These shows work best (at least for me), when any pretense of seriousness is dropped in favour of comedy. Everything Busou Shoujo did harem trope-wise for example was to either break them or take them far beyond the limit. And no need to mention Renai Boukin’s take on things. It was simply fun from start to finish.

      • June 24, 2017 at 5:10 pmpaulrenzo

        Exactly! Busou Shoujo was entertaining because it broke the most annoying harem tropes. Ditto with Akashic Records (to a lesser extent). Renai Boukin on the other hand, takes the tropes and dials them up to 20.

        I do wish though to see an anime with a “normal” (i.e. not spineless/not alpha male) in a harem-like situation in the future.

  • June 22, 2017 at 1:08 amMockman

    Stupidly charming or charmingly stupid. Maybe both. For the most part, a fun show.

  • June 22, 2017 at 1:44 amPurpleBomber

    http://randomc.net/image/Busou%20Shoujo%20Machiavellism/Busou%20Shoujo%20Machiavellism%20-%2012%20-%2025.jpg

    Amou may have stolen the kiss, but Tsukuyo stole the show. Played Nomura like a fool at the end there. XD

    • June 22, 2017 at 3:21 amMagnus Tancred

      She has an unusual combination of character traits, which make her stand out compared to the other girls who can be described in two to three words like “standard tsundere” “closet pervert ojou”, “haughty b*tch” etc.

      • June 23, 2017 at 12:27 amPancakes

        Agreed, for me it’s the mix of potential crazy (those eyes) and her cute naivety. Tsukuyo is incredibly dangerous, but just wants to be liked, opposing traits which in her form create something unique. Something similar with Satori could have been done too, but her backstory and sister’s introduction were too rushed to feel the effects.

  • June 22, 2017 at 3:41 amJeffers

    So amou is indeed a one masohistic and obssessive yandere, wanting to get hurt by nomura but at the same time wants to kill him too but seems like shy away when nomura`s manliness leaks out. And nomura madan (magic bullet) seems to should have been named cupid`s arrow or something… Looks like every girl that got hit by this gets their emotion messed up and fall to the guy so change should be appropriate lol…

    Anyway, this is one good anime, definitely better than a lot from this season. Ill surely comeback should this get season 2 given that from what i read, the orignal source is still ongoing. And yep… Tsukuyo Inaba is the best girl. Second is Satori

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:21 amzztop

      There’s an OVA coming this November. It’ll be bundled with Vol 7 of the manga.

      • June 22, 2017 at 9:01 amJeffers

        then let’s hope for good news once OVA comes…

  • June 22, 2017 at 4:31 ammaou

    • June 22, 2017 at 5:25 amDonto

      Nope, the school’s real owner and tsukuyo’s older half sister

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:18 amzztop

      She’s also the villian of Busou’s prequel, Shinakoi.
      The school headmistress is her loyal henchwoman.

    • June 23, 2017 at 12:29 amPancakes

      So basically Tsukuyo, just without any of her self control. I think I want some of that :P

  • June 22, 2017 at 10:29 amHalfDemonInuyasha

  • June 22, 2017 at 1:13 pmBear

    Wait! I call foul! What did Nomura want with the pass!? Just to leave the grounds Why? Just because? I expected it to be something silly such as wanting a cake from a specific bakery or some such. That would at least have made for a funny reaction from the girls when he came back and explained why. The whole plot was just switched from his original reason to getting to the airport to say goodbye to Amou. Sigh.

    • June 23, 2017 at 12:26 amMockman

      I suspect that, based on Nomura’s nature, he didn’t have anything specific in mind. He’s all about having the freedom to do what he wants, whether he actually wants to do someting or not, even if that means taking on the whole world. He probably just planned to do something fun, whatever that might turn out to be. If it hadn’t been Amou to go out for, he probably would have just had a day on the town and returned with some prohibited manga. Then after being punished, start it all over again.

      • June 23, 2017 at 12:33 amPancakes

        Pretty much this, Nomura never really had any lofty goals throughout. He simply sauntered from girl to girl, thoroughly enjoying the experience at each stamp stop. It’s why he grins when returning, the guy is loving life and now has some friends to enjoy it with.

  • June 22, 2017 at 9:54 pmDuzz

    Amou is best girl and I will fight anyone that says otherwise!

  • June 26, 2017 at 8:50 amdaikama

    My season’s kind of a mess catching up on shows. Quite late (not sure if anyone will read this) but I did want to comment on this one FWIW.

    EP 12: Honestly, the fight was a bit disappointing for me. It was jagged, with not only the usual anime battle of fight, stand and talk, fight a bit more, but all the flashbacks. Too disjointed for my tastes. Also, Amou (Empress) just basically gives up. Yeah, I know “love” and all (I guess), but it’s so anti-climatic. It really didn’t feel satisfying for me. Problem is that Amou is set up to be so tough to beat, especially the “auto-counter” that the mangaka kind of writes himself into a corner. So either something like this, or you’ll have to pull out some new technique – something to justify Nomura winning. I’d prefer the latter – done with some restraint and thought. Tsukuyo had the knowledge (same sword school as Nomura) and sort of hearing super powers to act as a tactician. Figure out some weakness/flaw in Amou’s style which is just barely enough for Nomura to win or at least fight to a draw.

    The ending was a bit standard/as expected, but that’s fine with one exception. I thought the “Oh no! Nomura’s been expelled” part was weak. First, it’s BS. If he’s really expelled, given that he’s the protagonist and this show so very much revolves around him, then might as well say “The End” (as in series). Second of all, “oh, I’m just kidding” as a resolution is weak as well. I get that the show is in large part comedy, but this just didn’t work for me. It’s pointless, forced, fake and unnecessary drama. Could remove that and it still plays out fine.

    Final Thoughts: This was the most surprising show for me this season because if not for Pancakes initial reviews, I would have skipped it. I’m NOT a fan of Prison School and this struck me as very much the same thing. Fortunately for me, it’s not. Even then, I had some serious doubt, but in the end, this was a fun, entertaining watch for me. It was over-the-top (OTT), but for me it never felt egregious like some OTT shows can be. It had and for the most part maintained the right semi-serious tone. Kind of hard to do, but generally had good transition between “serious” and “silly comedy” moments including the change in art style. Have to give points there.

    The strength of the show to me is the characters. Nomura’s a good ML and the kind of ML I like. He’s not some arrogant, cruel prick, but he’s also not MC Jesus-kun who’s SUPER nice to literally every single character, forgives any & all transgressions, etc. To put it crudely, he doesn’t take any shit. However, deep down he’s a good guy, not a bully/cruel/arrogant/pretentious, and generally just wants to have some fun with his classmates. I’d say he’s one of those likeable “rogue-ish” types. Given how much of the story revolves around him, it’s important that his character works.

    It’s not just Nomura though. Rin (best girl IMO) is a good FL. She’s got a nice combination of strength and cuteness. Mary’s not quite there, but she’s a good complement to Rin (and visual foil). The two paired up well together as love rivals. Warabi might have been the most impressive in that I really did not like her character initially, but after the “Warabinpics” (or whatever it was called), it’s like someone flipped a switch and she became a likeable character. I can’t recall changing my opinion that much, that fast on any character. For Satori, they did a GREAT job (visually & voice acting especially) in conveying that she is crazy as f**k. Good job giving off that dangerous, unpredictable vibe her such a character should have. She’s easily my least favorite “sword”, but have to give credit for that. Finally, even Tsukuyo turned out better than I expected. I ended up liking her as well.

    Pancakes makes a fair point about fleshing out characters, but with 5 Swords + ML + Amou in a single cour run, there’s only so much you can do in that amount of time. Overall, I thought the show did a sufficient, if less than ideal job. For example, you needed to know why Rin wears a mask, but for Mary’s character you can get a decent ideal of who she is and she doesn’t have any major visible quirks (the language thing is easily enough understood).

    TL:DR= Not a AOTS let alone AOTY, but a surprisingly fun, entertaining show with some pretty good execution to pull of the manga’s style. Enjoyed this one and would watch a second season.

    Lastly, appreciate the RC coverage. Even if I didn’t keep up, I did read the reviews.

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